Directly north of the road lies [[Isalo National Park]], which likely has large deposits of sapphires, but the area is nature protected where mining is not permitted. Most mining activity occurs directly south east of the main road.
The mining work is primarely carried out by Malagasy workers managed by small businesses and temporary resident dealers
who come mostly from Sri Lanka and Thailand, where they bring the rough stones for cutting.
There are various other smaller sapphire towns along the road westwards, such as [[Antsotramadoro]] and [[Sakaraha]].
Further information on Ilakaka,
see the [[Madagascar Sapphire Rush]] article.